Dan Bylsma Deserves A Ton Of Credit For Pittsburgh Penguins’ Victory In Round 1

Dan Bylsma

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Not many NHL head coaches who have won a Stanley Cup and have been as successful as Dan Bylsma receive the same criticism as the Pittsburgh Penguins head coach.

It seems almost like a yearly conversation in regards to fans wanting Bylsma gone for numerous reasons. Some reasons are borderline ludicrous, like the idea that Bylsma somehow had something to do with the Penguins’ inability to stay healthy this season. Others have more validity; for instance,  how there are times where Bylsma seems stubborn and unwilling to make the necessary changes to win when it matters most.

Whatever the reason, Bylsma silenced his critics for at least another week with the Penguins’ most recent playoff series win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bylsma did a masterful job not only in motivating his team, but also with making the necessary adjustments to keep the Blue Jackets honest. He helped spawn offense for the struggling Penguins. It was after the Penguins’ Game 4 loss where he challenged his team’s effort, and even included Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in that criticism. Shortly after that criticism in Game 5, Bylsma drastically mixed up his lines and had Malkin on the wing alongside Crosby.

Bylsma was coaching like a man trying to save his job, and if he continues to do so, there is a good chance he will keep his job. Reports are that Bylsma is leaning more on his assistant coaches and not trying to do everything himself, all while holding players to higher standards when they take the ice.

All of this should have been done all along, but in this case its better late than never. If Bylsma wants to keep his job, he needs to continue to make the appropriate adjustments like he did against the Blue Jackets, or else the Penguins won’t be advancing in these 2014 NHL Playoffs, and Bylsma will most likely be without a job.

Nonetheless, looking back at the Columbus series, a lot of credit should be given to the Penguins’ head coach. Sometimes, change is good.

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+.

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